Working with my clients to create sentimental custom pieces is one of the most enjoyable parts of my work. Not only do I get a creative challenge, it also offers up a new way for me to connect with clients and learn more about the meaningful parts in their lives. Recently I had the opportunity to work with Joanna Read, a friend of mine and an amazing artist (check out her work here!), and to create a pendant for her. She was kind enough to share the story behind it in her own words:
“The inspiration for commissioning this beautiful bronze turtle shell was sparked by a very special meeting of the minds that occurred right around the winter solstice. My dear friend and life coach Carole Ann Penney led a Choose Your Guiding Word workshop along with another lovely new friend, Patsy Culp. It was one of the most powerful days of the year for me; to reflect and share vulnerably with a thoughtful and sensitive group of women in a supportive environment, and to listen compassionately to others as they shared their hopes and intentions for the year to come. I already knew going into the workshop what my Guiding Word for the coming year needed to be, but the group discussion helped me realize the power in having a physical reminder of my word that I could carry close to my heart. It spawned the idea for this commission, and I couldn’t have been more excited to partner on this with Danielle, a fellow Lady Project member and dear friend.
My guiding word for this year is Listen – from an intuitive standpoint, as well as in how I relate to the external world. I’ve been working closely with animal symbology in my artwork, and for my physical reminder of the word, I wanted to choose an animal that represented this intention. The turtle immediately spoke to me on many levels:
“The turtle totem wisdom teaches us about walking our path in peace and sticking to it with determination and serenity. Slow moving on earth, yet also incredibly fast and agile in water, those who have the turtle as totem or spirit animal may be encouraged to take a break in their busy lives and look around or within themselves for more grounded, long-lasting solutions. Traditionally, the turtle is symbolic of the way of peace, whether it’s inviting us to cultivate peace of mind or a peaceful relationship with our environment. The turtle totem symbolizes our peaceful walk on this earth. It represents the path we take as we embark on our journey through life. In contrast to emotional or spiritual development occurring in bursts, the way of the turtle anchors our personal unfolding in a slow, more grounded series of steps and longer cycles of transformation.
The wisdom of the turtle totem teaches us about determination and staying strong despite obstacles or distractions. This animal encourages those who have it as totem to listen deeply to their guidance and trust their path no matter what.” (http://www.spiritanimal.info/turtle-spirit-animal/)
I also wanted to be very intentional about the materials used. I learned that bronze as an alloy, when touched, can bring deep calmness and insight.
It’s been incredibly empowering, and even quite surprising at times, where my word has taken me so far this year. This sacred and lovingly crafted pendant has become a part of me, every day resting close to my heart, and I often place it at the top of my yoga mat during practice as a focal point for meditation.
Thank you so much for sharing your gift with the world, Danielle! I couldn’t be happier to carry this with me through life.”